Date: 02 Nov 2012
“A Prostitution Alike of Matter and Spirit”: Anti-War Discourses in Children’s Literature and Childhood Culture Before and During World War I
- Kimberley Reynolds
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Histories of the First World War have regularly implicated children’s literature in boys’ eagerness to enlist in the first two years of that conflict. While undoubtedly the majority of children’s books, comics and magazines did espouse nationalistic, jingoistic and martial attitudes, there were alternative stories and environments. Looking at the publications, organisations and educational establishments that opposed the war and resisted the Germanophobia that began to dominate public discourse at the start of the twentieth century casts new light on some of the challenges and dilemmas facing a proportion of boys as they decided whether or not to join up. Additionally, the fact that there were alternative discourses is a reminder that not all readers would have responded in the same way to the same texts. Three areas are considered: children’s stories and pamphlets produced by Quakers and peace societies; left-wing publications, especially those associated with Socialist Sunday Schools; and two of the first progressive schools in Britain.
Kimberley Reynolds is Professor of Children’s Literature in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University in the UK. She has lectured and published widely on a variety of aspects of children’s literature, most recently in the form of an audio book, Children’s Literature between the Covers (Modern Scholar, 2011) and the volume on Children’s Literature in the Oxford University series of Very Short Introductions (2011).
This article arises from research done in connection with two Leverhulme-funded projects: the Leverhulme International Network, “Approaching War: Childhood, Culture and the First World War” and a Major Leverhulme Fellowship to research “Modernism, the Left and progressive writing for children, 1910–1949”.
Abbotsholmian, The. (1900–1950). Uttoxeter: Abbotsholme School.
Abbotsholme School Magazine. (1900–1950). Uttoxeter: Abbotsholme School.
Bootham. (1909–1949). York: Bootham School.
Brock, Peter. (1971). Pacifism in Europe to 1914. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Child’s Socialist Reader, The. (1907). London: The Twentieth Century Press.
Children’s Treasury of Peace, The. (c. 1890). Wisbech: Wisbech Local Peace Association.
Clarke, I. F. (1997). Great War with Germany, 1890–1940: Fictions and Fantasies of the War-to-Come. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Davin, Anna. (1996). Growing Up Poor: Home, School and Street in London 1870–1914. London: Rivers Oram Press.
Eby, Cecil Degrotte. (1987). The Road to Armageddon: The Martial Spirit in English Popular Literature, 1870–1914. Durham: Duke University Press.
Fussell, Paul. (2000/1975). The Great War and Modern Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Giesbers, J. H. G. I. (1970). Cecil Reddie and Abbotsholme: A Forgotten Pioneer and his Creation. Druk: Nijmegen.
Golding, Harry. (1915). War in Dollyland (A Book and a Game). Photography Albert Friend. London: Ward, Lock & Co.
Hawley, E. J. (c. 1902). The Toy Soldier: A Children’s Peace Story. Leicester: Leicester Peace Society.
Hazell, A. P. (1907). The Red Catechism for Socialist Children. London: Twentieth Century Press.
Humphreys, Stephen. (1981). Hooligans or Rebels? An Oral History of Working-Class Childhood and Youth 1889–1939. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
James, William. (1906). The Moral Equivalent of War. Address given at Stamford University. Accessed May 17, 2012, from http://www.constitution.org/wj/meow.htm.
Josepha, Mary, Princess, Daughter of Alfred, King of the Belgians. (1917). Princess Marie-José’s Children’s Book. London: Cassell and Co.
King Alfred School Magazine. (December, 1917). King Alfred School Archive (Ref. 9820/R4/1917).
Leith, Sam. (2009, April 25). Writing in Terms of Pleasure: Interview with A. S. Byatt. The Guardian. Accessed June 5, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/apr/25/as-byatt-interview.
Malleson, Miles. (1922). Paddly Pools: A Little Fairy Play. London: Hendersons.
O’Sullivan, Emer. (1990). Friend and Foe: The Image of Germany and the Germans in British Children’s Fiction from 1870 to the Present. Tübingen: G. Narr Verlag.
Oakes, John. (2009). Kitchener’s Lost Boys: From the Playing Fields to the Killing Fields. Stroud: The History Press.
Observer, The. Vols XXXI–LV. (1889–1949). York: Bootham School.
Orwell, George. (2001/1940). My Country Right or Left. In Orwell’s England: The Road to Wigan Pier in the Context of Essays, Reviews, Letters and Poems (pp. 242–248). London: Penguin.
Prospectus. (1907). London: King Alfred School.
Quaker Schools in Great Britain and Ireland: A Selective Bibliography of Histories and Guides to Records. (n.d.). London: Library of the Religious Society of Friends.
Reynolds, Kimberley. (2009). Words About War for Boys: Representations of Soldiers and Conflict in Writing for Children before World War I. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 34(5), 255–271.CrossRef
Rocke, Muriel. (1917). In Days Gone By. King Alfred School Magazine, pp. 85–87. King Alfred School Archive (Ref. 9820/R4/1917).
Rose, Jonathan. (2001). The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Russell, John. (1914). The School of War. London: King Alfred School.
Russell, John. (November, 1916). Headmaster’s Report. London: King Alfred School Society.
Vansittart, Peter. (1984). Voices: 1870–1914. London: Jonathan Cape.
Ward, Paul. (1998). Red Flag and Union Jack: Englishness, Patriotism and the British Left, 1881–1924. London: The Royal Historical Society.
Wells, H. G. (1911). Floor Games. Illus. J. R. Sinclair. London: Frank Palmer.
Wells, H. G. (1913). Little Wars: A Game for Boys of Twelve Years to One Hundred and Fifty and for that More Intelligent Sort of Girl Who Likes Games and Books. Illus. J. R. Sinclair. London: Frank Palmer.
Wells, H. G. (1914). The War that will End War. London: F. & C. Palmer. Accessed April 17, 2012, from http://archive.org/details/warthatwillendwa00welluoft.
Wells, H. G. (1917). Master Anthony and the Zeppelin. In Mary Josepha (Ed.), Princess Marie-José’s Children’s Book (pp. 14–16). London: Cassell and Co.
Young Socialist, The. Bound Volumes for 1907; 1912; 1913; 1914; 1915.
- “A Prostitution Alike of Matter and Spirit”: Anti-War Discourses in Children’s Literature and Childhood Culture Before and During World War I
Children's Literature in Education
Volume 44, Issue 2 , pp 120-139
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Peace societies
- Progressive schools
- Socialist Sunday Schools
- Conscientious Objectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK